Igniting Epic Wins

This article defines what an epic win is and how practices can foster it by asking three key questions. Those include enrolling staff in the practice’s vision and mission, creating psychological safety, and intrinsic motivation.

By M. Carolyn Miller, MA

Set the Groundwork for Genius Moves

In the world of gaming, an epic win occurs when a player pulls off an act of daring brilliance, often after multiple failed attempts. These wins occur slowly over long periods of time and shift the game itself. Think about the underdog player who wins the World Cup or the chess opponent who makes a strategic move that enables a surprise win.

In the marketplace, epic wins produce products and/or services that disrupt and change the market itself. Apple transformed the computer industry. Electric cars are transforming the automobile industry. And electronic records systems have changed the way practices record patient information.

When COVID hit, many practices tried and failed again and again to come up with solutions that would enable them to serve their patients and customers effectively and safely. But in that tsunami of challenges, epic wins began to emerge.

Practices identified what tasks could be done safely and/or remotely and the result was often a new, more streamlined workflow: Curbside check-ins; telehealth consults, new apps, the list goes on. What was created were genius ways to see patients and their owners while staying healthy and to enable staff to continue to do their jobs. Everywhere you looked, epic wins were occurring. This is what happens in a crisis.

But now that the crisis has settled, how can you ensure that epic wins continue? Indeed, how can you set the stage to build bench strength and be ready for the next challenge? The answer lies in understanding what triggers epic wins in the first place.

Epic wins don’t come out of the blue, even if they seem to. At the heart of such wins is the human potential for creative genius that lies like a sleeping giant in every employee. Your job is to unleash this power and make them normal operating procedure so that when the next crisis occurs, your practice will be ready.

What is Creative Genius?

In 2012, Richard Florida, a regional economic development expert, identified a segment of the US population he called “the creative class,” in his book, The Rise of the Creative Class. Florida defined this class as those who use their creative capital in various ways—from creating original works to finding creative solutions in the workplace.

Florida believes that every job can be “creatified,” that is, that everyone has the genius to come up with epic wins. No doubt you saw some of those during the pandemic.

At the heart of that genius is what Korn Ferry, an international management consulting firm, calls “the Potential Code.” They describe this as the ability of every employee to go beyond the role you hired them for, to rise to new challenges, and to achieve more than you or they thought possible.

How to Unleash Epic Wins

In fact, every staff person in your practice is capable of epic wins.

Epic wins demand a very specific container for them to emerge, and the pandemic created that. Everyone was working toward a common cause. There was no room or time or patience for toxic behavior. All solutions, even the outlandish ones, were entertained without judgment.

Want to set the stage today for epic wins today, before the next challenge? Below are some ways to do just that.

Illustration of a victorious woman with her hands in the air
Every staff person in your practice is capable of epic wins.
Enroll staff in your practice vision and mission

It’s easy to get caught up in day-to-day operations and forget what all the work and time and resources are for. That’s why it’s helpful to take a time-out regularly to remind everyone about why you do what you do. Moreover, if possible, encourage staff to go one step further. Ask them how each of them contributes to that purpose.

Create a safe container for epic wins to occur

“Psychological safety” is defined as “the belief that you won’t be punished or humiliated for speaking up with ideas, questions, concerns or mistakes,” by The Center for Creative Leadership, a global executive consulting company. It is critical for creating epic wins. It also demands vulnerability not only from staff but also from practice owners and managers who can show staff how to do this by modeling the behavior themselves.

Offer intrinsic motivation

Most creative people are motivated intrinsically, notes Florida, driven by personal satisfaction and enjoyment rather than external rewards. So, too, are many who work in the veterinary medicine field. But each of us has our own personal motivators, be it a need for autonomy or a desire to learn and teach others that is the “how” to that larger purpose. Ask staff what theirs is, and then identify how you can provide it.

Photo credits: ©AAHA/Alison Silverman, msan10/iStock via Getty Images Plus, CentralITAlliance/iStock via Getty Images Plus



Subscribe to NEWStat